Nats botch attempt to break playoff “curse” as Teddy Roosevelt doesn’t cooperate

teddy-roosevelt-presidents-race-playoff-curset-rex-chases-teddy-roosevelt-racing-presidentst-rex-chases-teddy-roosevelt-nationals-presidents-raceteddy-roosevelt-presidents-race-playoff-curse-t-rex-fixWhen the Washington Nationals were a perennial loser, many blamed the curse of Teddy Roosevelt; but the narrative switched after 2012, and fans began to believe that the Nats couldn’t win a playoff series precisely because they had let Teddy win.

So on Sunday, with Roosevelt having won the presidents race in each of the team’s six historic playoff games, the team conspired to prevent a recurrence.

The race began innocently enough, as the presidents stopped on the warning track to entertain the fans with some dance moves.

When the music stopped, Teddy got the early jump and dashed toward the finish. That’s when one of the dinosaurs from Friday’s race emerged from the stands to chase Teddy down.

The T-Rex was clearly supposed to stop Teddy short of the finish line, but the Bull Moose was too much to handle, and Teddy broke the tape as he fell.

What happened then stunned the crowd, and judge Screech and PA announcer Jerome Hruska followed the script and declared Thomas Jefferson the winner anyway.


Video: Racing presidents match team’s 16-inning insanity with 20-mascot melee and a presidents race first

Thomas JeffersonMascots attack JeffersonMascots attach racing presidentsScreech wins Nationals Presidents Race birthday carnageScreech wins Nationals Presidents Race Let Teddy WinSunday’s 16-inning marathon victory by the Nationals over the Minnesota Twins is already  being memorialized as one of the most epic and topsy-turvy games in Nats history, so it’s understandable that the game overshadowed what was also an epic and historic day in the pantheon of presidents races.

It was the annual “Kids Opening Day,” in which the team celebrates mascot Screech’s birthday, and other area mascots often show up to join in the fun.

The turnout Sunday was strong, with mascots from at least thirteen area teams and colleges in attendance, including G-Wiz, Slapshot, Glory, Poe, Uncle Slam, Talon, Testudo, Clawed Z. Eagle, YouDee, Baby Blue, Bulldog Jack, Bill the Goat, True Grit, Winger, and Glory.

In the fourth inning race, Thomas Jefferson emerged first and jumped out to a huge lead, but was met in the right field corner by a relentless onslaught of mascots, who jumped and pummeled him, with Navy mascot Bill the Goat repeatedly kicking the founding father on the ground.

When the other five presidents rounded the corner, the mascots got up and slammed into them all, then turned around and went back after Jefferson, who was body-slammed by Slapshot as he tried to get up.

Presidents race history was then made when Screech, who usually calls the winner from the finish line, took off and raced for the belt himself, marking only the third time a non-president has taken the tape*.

When the game went into the thirteenth inning, it was Jefferson’s chance for redemption. Wearing their traditional “Sunday best” uniforms for the first time this season, Jefferson ran away with the extra-innings win.

Here’s the official video as called at Nats Park, followed by the TV coverage on MASN:


Note: Our usual finish line videographer lfahome was not in attendance, so I tried to shoot the finish line videos myself, and botched the job (for both races!). What he does is not so easy.

* In 2009, Visiting pierogie Cheese Chester went off script and stole a win. In 2011, it was Jayson Werth.

Videos: Washington Nationals, MASN

Video: Screech teams with Teddy and Taft to win presidents race relay on his birthday

Screech wins Nationals Presidents RaceScreech wins Nationals Presidents Race birthdayThe Nationals racing presidents have produced a lot of unusual antics over the years, but Sunday’s fourth inning race brought something Nats fans had never seen: mascot Screech the Eagle crossing the finishing line to take the victory just ahead of “Honest” Abe Lincoln.

The victory capped an afternoon-long celebration of Screech’s birthday, with mascots from other mid-Atlantic sports teams on hand to help celebrate.

In previous years, those visiting mascots had interfered with the race, but this year it was Screech’s turn in the spotlight, teaming with Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft against Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln as the visiting mascots cheered from the finish line.

Video courtesy of lfahome

Video: In a first, Nationals presidents race goes to replay review, Lincoln robs Teddy of title

The Nationals racing presidents entered the penultimate regular season race of 2014 on Saturday with four-time champion Abraham Lincoln on a tear.

Presidents race photo finish Teddy GeorgeThis Play Under Review - Replay BaseballReplay official Abraham Lincoln - Washington Nationals Racing PresidentsLincoln, the all-time winningest racing president, had been dominated most of the season by Teddy Roosevelt, the perennial loser who came into the season with an all-time regular season record of 12-595 (yes, that’s twelve wins against nearly 600 losses).

But after clawing and cheating his way to victory in eight of eleven races in September, the Great Emancipator entered Saturday having tied the Rough Rider atop the presidents race standings.

So it was a surprise to most in the stands when “Honest” Abe failed to show up for Saturday’s race.

When the tightly-fought contest ended in a photo finish between Teddy Roosevelt and George Washington, race judge Screech the Eagle called for a replay review.

That’s when Lincoln appeared from the sidelines wearing a headset, having been appointed replay official by Screech.

After a delay in which the replay was shown on the Nationals Park scoreboard, Lincoln called the race for Washington, setting up a final showdown with Teddy in Sunday’s season finale.

Here’s the race as called in the stadium by PA Announcer Jerome Hruska, followed by our finish line video:


Videos: Washington Nationals and YouTube member lfahome

Teddy Roosevelt declares “Argh!” after losing on Talk Like a Pirate Day

Nationals Mascot Screech as a PirateThe Nats brought the best record in baseball home to DC as they kicked off the season’s penultimate home stand with a doubleheader vs. the Dodgers Tuesday at Nationals Park.

Nationals mascots Teddy Roosevelt and Screech the Eagle aren’t allowed to talk on duty, but that didn’t prevent them from celebrating National
Teddy Roosevelt Argh Talk Like a Pirate DayTalk Like a Pirate Day during the fourth inning presidents race.

Teddy Roosevelt came out for the nightcap race sporting a pirate’s bandana and a hook for a right hand.

After race judge Screech, sporting full pirate regalia, declared Thomas Jefferson the winner, Teddy pulled out a sign reading “Argh!”

Here’s race #1, in which the presidents wore their red day game uniforms (Abe won):

And here’s race #2 feature Screech and Teddy’s pirate day tribute:

Videos courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: Did George Win? Jefferson handed controversial presidents race victory

Did Screech blow the call?

Washington Nationals Presidents Race Photo FinishWednesday night’s presidents race at Nationals Park may have been the closest in racing president history, with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson hitting the finish line at precisely the same time.

With NASCAR champion Austin Dillon on hand to wave the checkered flag Wednesday, race judge Screech was unusually liberated to focus on making the correct call.

Yet many on hand, including the MASN play-by-play team of Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo, felt that George Washington was robbed when Screech awarded the ‘W’ to Thomas Jefferson.

George reached out and grabbed the tape as he fell forward across the finish line, but even the slo-mo replay below is inconclusive as to whether Jefferson had already touched the tape.

Video #2 courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

Video: “Air Screech” introduced at Nationals Park

Air ScreechBetween innings Thursday at Nationals Park, the Washington Nationals welcomed a new mid-game distraction. Popping up along the third base line was “Air Screech,” an inflated, dancing, oversize costumed version of the Nationals official mascot.

The video speaks for itself, but just in case you were at a loss for words, Dan Steinberg at the Post has compiled some of the Tweets that appeared almost instantly.

Video courtesy of YouTube member lfahome

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